On Subbable, reddit & Making Money on YouTube

People have strong allegiances to the community websites they use. They love theirs and hate the others.

As such, I expected to see comments from people who didn't like me doing a video about reddit -- I get it. However I was surprised by the number of people who thought that my reddit video was a paid advertisement for reddit.

This I did not expect.

To be clear: reddit paid me exactly as much to make a video about them as did The Holy See or the Royal Family: $0. I make videos about stuff I'm interested in: sometimes it's geography sometimes it's space sometimes it's voting and yes, sometimes it's a website I use daily.

If you stay subscribed to my channel, I can almost guarantee that at some point I will make a video that you don't like -- and that's fine: trying to please everyone is a fast track to failure. But while you might not like that future video, you can at least know it's not a paid commercial. Part of the whole reason I joined Subbable was so that I would not have to do that sort of thing.

I've been working on an FAQ for Subbable and I think this section from the first draft is relevant to the current discussion unfolding on YouTube:

From the Subbable FAQ Draft:

YouTube allows creators to run a bunch of different kinds of ads:

Unskippable preroll ads: The most traditionally TV commercial-like of all the ads.

Skippable preroll ads: You're required to watch for five seconds, then you can skip if you want (or not). I find these to be the most acceptable ads.

Pop-up ads: Ads that cover up the bottom portion of the video forcing you to close them about 10 seconds in. These I hate the most.

Interruptive ads: Unskippable 15 or 30 seconds ads that show up in the middle of a video. For an example, see Day9.

Sidebar ads: The square ads on the side of YouTube -- these must always appear.

In addition to those official ads, many YouTubers do three other kinds of ads:

Product placements: Pepsi pays you to have Pepsi in your video.

Sponsors: This is where the creator mentions a product at the end. See MinutePhysics for an example.

Commissioned videos: This is where a company pays you to make a video about a particular topic. Some of FreddieW's videos fall into this category.

Pre-Subbable I allowed all of the official YouTube advertisements on my channel but had never done product placements, sponsors or commissioned videos.

When YouTube was a hobby turning down those kinds of ads was acceptable. But when YouTube became what my wife and I depend on for a living, turning down product placements, sponsors and commissioned videos felt financially irresponsible -- even though they weren't (and aren't) something I want on the CGPGrey channel.

The current Subbable goal allows me to turn off pop-up ads and interruptive ads. But Subbable comes nowhere near to covering the money lost by not doing product placements, commissions or sponsors -- and I still don't do them. So there is no 'extra' money as people assume with a funding goal of over 100%.

My long-term hope with Subbable is that it might be able to cover this lost revenue in the future. But for now, what Subbable currently allows me to do is feel less financially reckless by turning down those offers on the CGPGrey channel.